There’s an interesting and ironic backstory to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s decision to overrule an administrative law judge and declare that Olympic gold-medalist Carl Lewis is ineligible to run for state Senate in the 8th Legislative District because he doesn't meet the state's residency requirements.
Republican Guadagno got to make the call against Lewis, a Democrat, because in addition to serving as lieutenant governor, she also serves as secretary of state — and the Division of Elections is now in the State Department.
Until 2007, the Division of Elections was part of the Department of Law and Public Safety. Under that setup, the decision on Lewis would have been made by the state attorney general.
Democrats are now squawking that the Lewis decision (which will be appealed to the Appellate Division) should not have been made by an obviously partisan elected official like the lieutenant governor. The attorney general, of course, is appointed by the governor but is somewhat more insulated from politics than Guadagno, whose job is basically to do whatever Chris Christie tells her to do.
But the rest of the story?
It was a Democrat-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine who moved the Division of Elections to the Department of State. The moved seemed inexplicable at the time and still does. And now it’s biting the Dems in the butt.